Lenten Theme Hymn: "I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say," ELW 332
1I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"Come unto me and rest;
lay down, O weary one, lay down
your head upon my breast."
I came to Jesus as I was,
so weary, worn, and sad;
I found in him a resting-place,
and he has made me glad.
2I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"Behold, I freely give
the living water, thirsty one;
stoop down and drink and live."
I came to Jesus, and I drank
of that life-giving stream;
my thirst was quenched, my soul revived,
and now I live in him.
3I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"I am this dark world's light;
look unto me, your morn shall rise,
and all your day be bright."
I looked to Jesus, and I found
in him my star, my sun;
and in that light of life I'll walk
till trav'ling days are done.
Text: Horatius Bonar, 1808-89 (Public Domain)
Lent is often understood as a season of repentance, of turning away from sin and death and returning to God. In fact, the Hebrew word most often translated "repent" also means "turn" or "return."
Turning around is hard work, though. It is much easier to defend our positions, to hide away, and to make excuses or blame others for what is wrong. This is certainly what we see many public figures doing, but we do it too.
The way of Christ is different. Our theme hymn reminds us what we can expect to find when we return to God: not the shaming and judgment we see in public life, but gentleness, nourishment, and help for the way forward. Practice turning toward this God today. Imagine what God will work in you if you turn around and hand over the fear, anger, or ugliness you're holding on to.
Jesus, I want to trust you and turn to you, but I keep getting in my own way. Help me today to turn and find you. Let your gentle love be the loudest voice in my life, so that the lies of the world fall away in your presence. Amen.